Questions about the extension of the certificate requirement
Since 20 September 2021 there is a certificate requirement for all activities that take place within the framework of the university, regardless of the number of participants.
Does this mean that masks are no longer required in lecture halls, seminar rooms, etc.?
No. In addition to the certificate requirement, the University is maintaining the mask requirement until further notice.
Why was it decided to extend the certificate requirement?
The pandemic is not over yet. People are dying of COVID every day, and it is by no means just elderly people or those with pre-existing conditions. In addition, our medical infrastructure, nurses, and doctors are overburdened. The longer the pandemic lasts, the longer we are all affected, have to be quarantined, or are restricted. The University wants to fulfill the obligation it has to employees, students, and also society and help to find a way out of this situation as quickly as possible. Today, there are protective measures such as vaccination or tests, and we want to use them as widely as possible. In terms of university operations, it is also a matter of creating a certain normality for the benefit of students. After all, the overall quality of teaching is higher in person than in purely online options.
Doesn't the certificate obligation violate the basic right of access to education?
The University is not violating any rights. We respect fundamental rights as a matter of course and therefore offer digital alternatives for people who do not have a certificate.
I do not want to be vaccinated or tested. Can I stay away from in-person courses?
The certificate requirement does not mean that the attendance requirement is omitted for students without a certificate. For events with mandatory attendance (e.g. seminars or tutorials) students have to hold a certificate, i.e. unvaccinated persons have to be tested. In order to avoid problems for non-vaccinated persons, the university offers the possibility of testing at three locations since the end of the free offer of the federal government. If a student is a person at risk, he/she must clarify this according to the information sheet (in German).
Who controls the certificates and how?
Compliance with the certificate requirement is controlled by means of random checks. The random checks are carried out by authorized and trained personnel of VüCH AG. VüCH AG is a member of the Association of Swiss Security Service Companies. Their employees are very experienced, easily recognizable due to their uniforms and have been prepared for their assignment at the university. They carry out random checks of two to five percent of the university's employees (students and staff) per day. Supervisors and lecturers are relieved from carrying out checks thanks to this cooperation, however they are also authorized to do so.
How can I check the Uni-Certificate?
Checking the Uni-Certificate is very simple. You can scan the QR code of the Uni certificate directly with the camera of your smartphone without an external app. The certificate will be loaded and displayed as in the example below. Important: The Uni-certificates cannot be read with the Confederation's Covid-Check app, as they have no validity outside the University.
Does the university offer testing opportunities?
Yes, more information can be found in the Q&A testing and vaccinations.
Is the certificate issued at the university a "full" certificate with which I can also go to restaurants or travel abroad?
No, it is a so-called "UniBE certificate" and is only valid within the University. It is marked accordingly. However, other official certificates are also valid at the University.
Which foreign COVID certificates are recognized by Switzerland?
Switzerland recognizes all certificates from the EU/ Schengen area that are issued according to the specifications of the "EU Digital COVID Certificate". For certificates from other countries, recognition may be possible.
Has the general obligation to wear masks on University premises now been lifted?
No. Until further notice, masks are compulsory in all interior spaces of the university.
Are employees without a certificate now still allowed in the workplace?
From 20 December 2021, an obligation to work from home applies to the whole of Switzerland. If working from home is not possible, the presence at the workplace must be arranged in consultation with the superior. Wearing masks at the workplace is mandatory except if no one else is in the same room.
As a superior, may I, should I, must I check the certificate of my employees?
You may do so within the framework of a protection concept. The decision is up to the superior.
How is it verified that everyone who attends a meeting has a certificate?
The University of Bern relies, in principle, on the statements and personal responsibility of the participants. However, random checks will be carried out.
Is there an obligation to report someone if I notice that they do not have a certificate and still attend a meeting?
No, but the person in question must leave the room, and must also be prepared for disciplinary or legal consequences.
Isn't it delicate with regard to privacy if I have to declare whether I am certified?
No, this is already standard for many events and employers.
Does the recommendation to work from home still apply to everyone?
From 20 December 2021, an obligation to work from home applies to the whole of Switzerland. If working from home is not possible, the presence at the workplace must be arranged in consultation with the superior.
Can employees with a certificate go into the office?
From 20 December 2021, an obligation to work from home applies to the whole of Switzerland. If working from home is not possible, the presence at the workplace must be arranged in consultation with the superior. Wearing masks at the workplace is mandatory except if no one else is in the same room. Meetings, discussions, etc. should be held virtually wherever reasonable or possible. They can only be conducted in person if all participants have a certificate, wear masks and maintain the distance of 1.50 meters.
What about those who do not have a certificate but must work on site (for example, facilities services, cleaning staff, workshops)?
These employees must wear masks during work and keep a distance of 1.50 meters.
What applies to external companies with contracts in university buildings such as service, cleaning, planning and architect, construction companies, etc.?
For them, compliance with hygiene measures, social distancing and wearing masks is required.
Does the certificate requirement apply to common coffee breaks?
The rules for the office apply to all premises of the University.
Does a certificate requirement also apply in laboratories?
Yes, and additionally masks must be worn. Wearing masks at the workplace can only be dispensed if no one else is in the same room.
If I am a university employee and have to attend a face-to-face meeting and do not have a certificate, will I be paid for the test?
In principle, no. But it is possible to get tested for free.
Can supervisors require employees to attend in-person meetings and be tested?
Does the certificate requirement also apply to meetings in pairs?
In principle, yes. For everyday discussions between supervisors and employees as well as for employee meetings (MAG), the rules for the office apply: The general obligation to wear a mask applies throughout the room. A distance of at least 1.50 meters must be maintained.
Does the certificate requirement also apply to meetings of university associations (SUB, choir, fraternities, etc.)?
Yes, on the premises of the university and if they are not independent organizations, and part of the university.